By: Kate MacDonald – The Brock Press
With harvest season here, it can only mean one thing: the school year is back in full force and there are roughly 19,000 hungry students on-campus to feed. Adequate nutrition is vital for students to have a successful year. This is one of the many messages that D.I.G. strives to spread.
Develop, Integrate and Grow (D.I.G.) is Brock University’s community garden and a project of OPIRG-Brock (a social justice organization on campus). The garden is located on the south side of campus right beside the Zone 2 parking lot.
The garden was built in 2012 by a group of students who had a dream to grow their own healthy food on campus, while promoting the importance of non-commercial, affordable eating; all the while building lasting friendships with other students who had the same values and dreams. Those days of dreaming have become a reality.
Through D.I.G., students have the opportunity to be hands-on with their own food. After tuition, housing and textbook costs (the list could go on) the majority of students do not have much to fall back on when it comes to providing nutritious and affordable meals for themselves. Sodexo, the corporation that provides on-campus food, fails to acknowledge this by keeping food costs high, leaving too many students to survive on unhealthy and unfilling snacks to get by while they are at school.
D.I.G. recognizes that there are detrimental flaws in the food industry that need to be addressed. It aims to engage the Brock community in the common goals of social responsibility and environmental sustainability by planting, sharing, and eating local, wholesome, healthy, delicious crops, and aims to advocate and educate for alternative means to obtaining our food in a sustainable and gratifying way that benefits us all.
D.I.G. offers a sustainable economic model. With little start-up cost, a reasonable amount of work shared between a community of students and huge, yummy gains, community gardens are a viable alternative to the corporate monopoly found at Brock.
Although 15 lots of five feet by eight feet cannot realistically feed an entire school, the Brock garden has the ability to produce hundreds of pounds of food that can be consumed by students year round through programs such as the FED Up Food Program at Brock, which hosts free, vegan food in the OPIRG office on Thursday afternoons, or shared with the community.
Students don’t need to have a green thumb or have any prior gardening experience to get involved. D.I.G. will be offering planting and cooking workshops throughout the year. Whether it’s getting involved with regular gardening on campus or even being inspired to start your own garden, be it a four feet by four feet raised bed or a few containers in an apartment, D.I.G. can give you the skills you need.
When it comes down to it, affordable healthy food is accessible to anybody with a little space, a little dirt and some seeds.
For more information about the Brock Community Garden visit their website YourBrock.org/Garden. To get involved e-mail Garden@YourBrock.org